Chris Cheek '91 to Lead Berklee Student Quintet on the Road

By 
Tori Donahue
May 8, 2017
Press release
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Chris Cheek '91 will be the featured artist for Berklee's Masters on the Road series this year.
Image courtesy of the artist

Berklee’s Masters on the Road series, where master alumni musicians return to campus to teach and lead a touring ensemble, continues with Chris Cheek B.M. ‘91, a renowned jazz saxophonist. Chris Cheek’s Berklee Quintet will perform at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Wednesday, May 17; Regattabar in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Thursday, May 18; Side Door in Old Lyme, Connecticut on Saturday, May 20; and at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York City on Monday, May 22.

Cheek is known for his role as bandleader for five critically acclaimed solo albums, including A Girl Named Joe, Vine, Blues Cruise, and Saturday Songs, in addition to his contributions to more than 80 albums throughout his career, such as the Steve Swallow Quintet’s album Into the Woodwork. He most recently collaborated with Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra for its final album, Time/Life (2016). Cheek has also worked with Bill Frisell, Brian Blade, Paul Motian, Brad Mehldau, and Kurt Rosenwinkel throughout his career.

Chris Cheek’s Berklee Quintet includes James Fernando ’17 (professional music major; Needham, Massachusetts) on piano, Francois Chanvallon ’18 (professional music major; Houilles, France) on guitar, Max Gerl ’17 (performance major; Dallas, Texas) on bass, and Tyson Jackson ’19 (Jazz Composition major; West Palm Beach, FL) on drums. Guitarist Rick Peckham, a professor in the Guitar Department, assisted in selecting the group along with Cheek, and rehearsed with the band on a weekly basis. Cheek visited the class in early April to practice with the group for a recital on April 6.

This is the fifth year of the Masters on the Road program, in which star Berklee alumni mentor and rehearse top Berklee student performers, and then take them on tour. In 2013, jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut B.M. ’85 performed with a student sextet at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York and at the D.C. Jazz Festival. In 2014, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison ’81 toured with a student group to clubs in New York and Connecticut. Jazz trumpeter Ingrid Jensen B.M. ’89 led a group of students on a five-date tour, which included performances at the Mary Lou Williams Festival in Washington, D.C., and at Philadelphia’s Clef Club in 2015. Last year, jazz saxophonist and David Bowie collaborator Donny McCaslin B.M. ’88 toured with a student quartet throughout New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Watch a performance by the Chris Cheek Berklee Quintet.